Cases increase as election results are coming, vaccines and treatments are advancing, and the reach of screening and tracing technologies is increasing. Here’s what you need to know:
Want to receive this weekly roundup and other coronavirus news? Register here!
Cases reach new highs as Americans await election results
In a dizzying confluence of events, this week’s elections coincided with record number of coronaviruses in the USA. There were 121,888 new cases on Thursday, marking the third time this week that America has broken its previous record. The number of hospitalizations and deaths is also increasing, especially in the South and Midwest. Whatever the outcome of the election, Donald Trump will remain in the Oval Office until January 20, and given his record on the pandemic, public health experts are concerned that 100,000 more Americans could die during this time.
Whoever the next president is, he will face the monumental task to bring the coronavirus pandemic under control. Cases are skyrocketing, face masks are rare again, and a dark winter is coming. But there are still things the country’s leaders can do now. Mitch McConnell took a new stance on coronavirus aid earlier this week, saying Congress should approve a relief package before the end of the year. And the CDC director said that now is the perfect time for the United States to develop a better strategy to identify asymptomatic cases if this outbreak is to be controlled.
Development of vaccines and treatments continues to advance
AstraZeneca announced Thursday that its vaccine may be available at the start of the new year. The pharmaceutical company plans to analyze data from the Phase III trial over the next two months. If these results look good, it will increase production and require government approval. Moderna said its vaccine would not be ready until spring, while Pfizer could apply for emergency use authorization as early as later this month. A CDC adviser confirmed yesterday that when the vaccines become available in the United States, they almost certainly will be. go to healthcare workers first. For a vaccine to be widely approved, experts are also working hard to build public trust, especially within communities of color, which have long been victims of medical racism.
Research published yesterday also showed that a nasal spray developed at Columbia University successfully blocked SARS-CoV-2 to get into the lungs and noses of ferrets. The study has not yet been peer reviewed and the spray has not been tested on humans. But the researchers say it’s nontoxic and, if effective, could work as a daily vaccine. It is also relatively inexpensive to manufacture and does not require refrigeration. United Kingdom, aspirin is under study as a potential treatment for Covid-19. Researchers believe that the inexpensive and widely available drug may reduce the risk of blood clots.
Covid-19 screening and tracing technology grows, but not without problems
Dozens of U.S. school districts have bought new technology to help fight the spread of Covid-19 using CARES law funds for pandemic assistance. The devices use thermal cameras to monitor students’ temperatures and facial recognition technology to tell if they’re wearing masks. While some see facial recognition capabilities as useful even after the pandemic has ended, others fear that their introduction into schools could compromise the security and privacy of children’s biometrics.
Meanwhile, plotting technology in the UK ran into a problem last week when software engineers working on the NHS Covid-19 application found that thousands of people who may have been exposed to the virus were not asked to quarantine themselves due to an error. The British government has reportedly been in talks with the controversial American company Palantir about using its software to bolster its struggling nationwide testing and tracing program after a series of computer problems.
In the midst of a truly terrible year, WIRED’s Elena Lacey began fostering an aging, one-eyed Chihuahua named Radis. It turns out that each was just what the other one needed.
Something to read
The smell of feces is unpleasant, yes. But it is also “a reminder of the inescapable reworking of matter and energy which advances the great game of complexity”. And how humans learned to deal with it tells us a lot about how we’ve evolved.
Whether you are looking for a new skateboard or a new pair of shoes, there is an option that is right for you. and the planet. We round some of our favorites upcycled and recycled products.
What is Covid-19 brain fog?